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Turkey seeks ways to improve trade relations with Nigeria

by Business News Report

THE Turkish Minister for Foreign Trade, Zafer Caglayan disclosed yesterday that the volume of trade between Nigeria and Turkey stands at about 1 billion dollars, just as he said that there were projections for an increase in the coming years.
Speaking in Abuja while addressing a delegation of Turkish and Nigeria business men, Caglayan who called for an increase in trade relations between Nigeria and Turkey, stressed that Nigeria was the fastest growing economy in the Western part of Africa, adding that as a nation, Nigeria must harness its potentials to the fullest because of the important role it gets to play in developing the region.
The Turkish Minister who urged all the business men from his country to increase trade relations with Nigeria, stressed the need for them to permanent their businesses in the country, adding that Turkey was prepared to work with Nigeria in different sectors of the economy, including, mining, textiles, Oil and Gas, Chemistry and Food security.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, NEPC, Engr Mustafa Bello, who disclosed that more countries were increasingly interested in doing business with Nigeria, said that President Goodluck Jonathan was focussing his efforts on developing the non oil sector designed to make Nigeria one of the top 20 economies of the world by 2020.

Diamond Bank, one of the leading banks in the country has announced that it has lend over N8billion to support the small business in the country despite the global economic lull . As a leading supporter of SMEs in the country, Diamond Bank has once more distinguished itself as a willing lender to small operators and has promised to even boost their operations more next year.
Mrs Chidinma Lawanson, the Bank’s Head of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Proposition, who made this known at the Bank’s Business Development Seminar held in Lagos over the weekend, also disclosed that the financial institution has concluded plans to launch products that would enhance the business of female entrepreneurs in the country. She further stated that Diamond Bank was partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to create the gender based products as a means of encouraging more women to succeed in business.
Lawanson further disclosed that the Bank has set aside funds that would be channeled towards lifting the businesses of those who operate in the health sector. She added that the DiamnodXpress Enterprise Development Series which started last year has gone round many cities, mentoring entrepreneurs across the country, adding that the programme is well received by entrepreneurs.
“We have been getting positive feedbacks from our customers who tell us they are pleased with the way the Bank cares for them by encouraging them to improve on their businesses. We intend to continue the programme next year. We strongly believe that this initiative is a good thing for the economy because if the SMEs grow their capacity, they will be able to employ more people. That might also translate into more customers for us,” she said.
She further stated that the DiamondXpress account welcomes up to 250 new customers monthly , adding that the Bank lends hundred of millions of naira monthly to entrepreneurs. “Our expectation is to double our lending to small businesses in 2011 as a way of reinforcing our support for the sector. We have done over N10billion this financial year and I am sure that next year, we will do more. We took this bold initiative after assessing the challenges faced by some Nigerian entrepreneurs and that is what Diamond BusinessXpress product is addressing. It was specifically to add value to businesses, whether a micro, small or medium scale enterprise,” she stated.
According her, the product was designed to help the bank’s customers under this category to grow their MSME businesses till they graduate to the upper level market. “We offer you a proposition. Because we understand your need for a flexible account that will allow you to
carry out your transactions at a minimal rate, we have given you an account with zero COT. Our modest fixed monthly service fee means you can carry out numerous transactions every month without worrying about COT. Your savings can then be ploughed back to business,” she said.
According to her, other advantages of the product include access to enterprise business seminars, easy access to loans and personal credit cards.

Flour Mills N37.5bn Bond: UBA Targets More Corporate Bond Raising in Africa :
Following the successful conclusion of the N 37.5 billion first tranche of unsecured bond issue for Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, the Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Phillips Oduoza has said that corporate organisations in Africa should expect more of such deals as the bank intends to be a major player in the corporate sector in Africa
Speaking during an interactive session with the Group Managing Director, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Dr. Emmanuel Ukpabi during a visit in Lagos, Mr Oduoza said “UBA is poised to play a strategic role in financial intermediation for our clients across Africa through the provision of value-added products and Services”. We are immensely proud to have played a major role in bringing this transaction to the market. The size of the transaction, the tight pricing level of 12 per cent as well as the fact that it was oversubscribed demonstrates the confidence of investors in our capability as the issuer,” he said. This largest corporate bond ever raised in Nigeria , coming on the heels of the successful raising of N20bn by UBA Plc from the capital market recently, according to the UBA GMD, will help in deepening the Nigerian bond market.
A total of N 49.8 billon bids was raised from a varied composition of investors during the issue. Flour Mills had targeted an initial issue amount of N 35 billion but it accepted bids up to 12 per cent, for a total amount of N 37.5 billion. United Bank of Africa Plc was the lead issuer and major underwriter of the issue. In his own remarks , the Group Managing Director, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Dr. Emmanuel Ukpabi, said, “We, at Flour Mills, are extremely pleased with the outcome of this transaction, and the benefits it provides to the Flour Mills Group expansion plans.
We take this opportunity to express our appreciation also for the fantastic job done by our advisors– UBA Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank and Zenith Capital– in putting the transaction together.” On reasons for the bond, Dr Ukpabi said that Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc has planned modernisation and expansion projects, hence the need to raise capital at an attractive interest rate, the opportunity which the bond provided.
Mr. Ifeatu Onejeme Executive Director, Corporate and International Banking, in a brief remark said he was looking forward to working closely with Flour Mills in its daily banking activities among others.

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